Posted to the wrong blog. Sorry folks.

Maintaining multiple blogs is rewarding, if challenging.Hence, my apollogy about posting my last mission trip article to You've Been Reviewed. Mission Trip Reflections is my musing about the trip and how it impacted my life. God certainly moved me beyond my comfort zone! The experience in Hungry Horse, Montana, touched me deeply in many ways.

I believe in local, national and international missions. Sure, the experiences give you a chance to help someone else. However; mission trips can remind yourself of who you are. They can help you reconnect with God on many levels. The reconnection and spiritual boost can be a profound unexpected experience.

If you take part in a mission trip, I would implore you to expect to see God. He is always at work but we don't always see His hands. Christian voluntourism can change that, if you let it. Don't miss the opportunity.


Mission trip is getting closer

The date for the mission trip to Montana is getting closer. Wesley Memorial UMC is putting it together. My husband and I are going along to offer pastoral leadership and guidance. It should be an amazing experience.

On-site leadership is provided by Mission of Joy. They have a strong ministry in Hungry Horse, Montana. Our team will be serving up some home cooked meals and hosting a VBS right after lunch. Although it has a VBS component, I'm expecting the two experiences to be wildly different.

As with Mississippi, my husband and I will be driving to Montana. Mapping software says the trip will be about 4,500 miles. We'll see how accurate that is when we return.

Going up, I'll be meeting with a colleague in Evansville, Indiana and picking up our daughter in Illinois. It looks like the shortest way home will be through two National Parks. Since we're in the van, the parks should provide economical accommodations - or so we hope!

Internet access may be a challenge but I'll keep you updated as I can. Facebook may be the best way to follow the trip. If you aren't following me already, you can do so here.


How Nonprofits Can Use a Blog to Raise Funds

How nonprofits can use a blog to raise funds first appeared on the Yahoo Contributor Network on June 30, 2011.

This day and age every dollar counts and most dollars are shrinking. It's no wonder then that charity organizations are looking for ways to increase revenue. Blogging and social media is becoming more popular among charitable organizations. Much of the funding from the nonprofit I serve comes from online sources. In fact, a large chunk of our funding comes from our blog. Surprised? Don't be. There are many ways that nonprofits can use a blog to raise funds.

As my board of directors found out the results of raising funds through blogging won't be immediate. However, with a designated blogger and some hard work your charity may begin seeing results in a few months or less.

First and foremost a blog is a wonderful tool to connect your nonprofit with the world. Specifically, you want your volunteers and board of directors to sit up and pay attention. This should be your primary target audience. They are already vested in your organization and want to know what is going on. Blogs are a good way to keep your organization's activities in front of them.

Some people think that nonprofits can use their blog to raise funds by simply putting it online and adding a Pay Pal button. In reality, it's just not that simple. There are a few people who will donate online but most won't.

However, even the ones who won't use an online donation process will like having it there. It gives your board of directors the feeling that all the bases are covered. What they don't realize is that the promotion of an online donation link is largely up to them. Nonprofits can create the best content in the world but it's secondary to the support of a board of directors.

Board of Directors
Nonprofits need to get their board of directors involved when trying to raise funds with a blog. Chance are high that many of your directors will have jobs or own their own small companies. What better way to show their support for the nonprofit than to take out a small ad?

When your board member's company graphic or business card is scanned in and posted to the blog it does two things. First, it shows the board members support and commitment to the nonprofit. Second, it demonstrates a way that a blog can help raise funds.

Sponsored advertisements
When you talk with local companies about sponsored advertisements expect to be asked about board member support. Showing them that other businesses are already using your blog to get their message out makes them more likely to support the blog.

When looking at how nonprofits can use a blog to get sponsored advertisements there are a couple of ways that this can be done. One way is to talk with your local companies and get them on board. Your charity can rent sidebar space or sell blog articles themselves.
Renting or selling space to online companies
There are online companies that will help your nonprofit raise funds. They don't tend to pay as much as a local sponsorship. However, these companies can be useful for filling in gaps.

If you do register with a company do make sure that you can turn down any offers that don't fit with your blog theme. Don't take the chance on writing a $6.00 blog post and alienate your donor base. Articles that are unrelated to your mission are confusing for donors and volunteers.

The thing to remember is that nonprofits can use a blog to raise funds. The nonprofit that I work with has done so for years. Blogging is is an effective tool that many charities may want to consider.